Interviewee: Ursula Grover
Date: of interview :2 August 2010.
Ursula moved to Hove in 1965. Prior to that she had been a great cinema-goer, going at least once a week in her home town.
She remembers that following her move to Brighton and Hove, she heard of the Duke of York’s Picturehouse fairly quickly because her husband, who worked as a teacher, would go there in his free time during the afternoons, before lessons resumed later in the day. If Ursula could arrange for a babysitter to look after their children, she would then join her husband at the Duke of York’s.
Vaska: And can you tell me what kind of films you saw?
Ursula: Well, sometimes he used to come home and say he saw ‘a very naughty little film this afternoon, I wouldn’t take you to that’, but he saw whatever was played at the time and it used to be quite cheap too, so it, he used to like films about history, he used to like films about nature, he used to, I went with him to see quite a lot of funny films, the sort of Carry On type of films, which I enjoyed, so yes, unfortunately you can’t ask him now because otherwise he would give you a fantastic interview, he would be talking for hours.
Vaska: Can you remember the first time you saw the cinema?
Ursula: It would be in the early… in the late sixties, it could be as early as 66, 67, yeah.
Vaska: And what did it look like?
Ursula: Well, small and dark and it was at Preston Circus, Wasn’t unusu- it didn’t look unusual because cinemas that I used to go to were of that kind, you know, they all looked nice and cosy and small. There were cinemas that have been pulled down. Boots for example on the corner, off Clocktower. I used to go a lot to that, that was a nice cinema.
Vaska: Was that the Regent?
Ursula: I think it was The Regent, yes. And I don’t at all like the replacement, I never go in there so, you know.
Vaska: And can you remember, did it seem dirty when you went in, or what kind of smell?
Ursula: Well the smell, everybody was eating sweets, and I have a feeling that people were allowed to smoke and I think that annoyed me a little bit because I didn’t smoke and I found that a little bit unpleasant. And when the lights went down and then the cinema, the light of the film was there you could see quite a lot of dust and smoke in that beam, and I used to say to myself bit smelly here, but that’s really what it was.
Vaska: What were the seats like? Comfy?
Ursula: Well, when you’re newly-married, fairly newly-married, we were married about seven years at that time, eight years, I call that newly-married. You don’t really mind, if you’ve got an evening together, don’t think you greatly bother about the seats!
Ursula can’t remember if she took her children to the Duke of York’s cinema, though they did frequent the cinema as a family quite often.Ursula and her husband would sometimes like to sit in the back seat if they could!Compared to other cinemas, she found the Duke of York’s to be smaller and more cosy, with a nice atmosphere. She would have an ice-cream in the middle.
Ursula: It was lovely. It was one of the cheapest and enjoyable outing and you could lose yourself of course, because I don’t think we even had a television in those days at home. I remember my husband buying it when there were some Olympic Games but I can’t remember when they were. And until that I didn’t have this new-fangled box in the corner in my house, so cinema was the only way to see things.
Ursula states that she used to have to take two buses to get to the Duke of York’s Picturehouse – about an hour’s journey. She would dress up when going out with her husband.
Ursula: There wasn’t any aggression, or, you know, not this business of ‘sshhh’ or ‘shut up’ and things. Everybody seemed to be more tolerant. When I brought my daughter in one day and there was something with monkeys and a gorilla came right to the front, to the front of the film, and she screamed because she was frightened, obviously. I cuddled her then and nobody did say ‘oh keep your children under check’ or whatever, you know, they were just. It was nice. Nowadays, you, I would hardly take a five year old in, you know, I would be worried what people would say.
Going to the cinema was part of her family’s lifestyle – it was a communal activity and she has noticed how people can now watch films on their mobile phones.
She finds that the cinema is too expensive now. Today she goes to the cinema with her OAP card which makes it more affordable.